Warning: there will be hypocrisy by the end.
I woke up reading Twitter. It's a thing I do. And this morning there was tweet of basically "there's a qualitative and qualitative difference if you read a book, meditate, eat a meal than starting your day with screen time."
And I'm like, "Okay, I'm done."
I'm done with advice that's only about explicit changes in activity.
If you only stopped deleted this app with your phone. If you only stopped eating gluten. If you only used spaces instead of tabs while coding. If you only swam 20 minutes after eating. If you only stopped and smelled the roses.
Bitch, what if I'm allergic?
I have no qualms about bettering yourself, nor any problems with reframing how you see life.
But what I'm tired of is people neglecting to articulate both the underlying mechanism of mindfulness, and its inherent costs and difficulties.
I agree that everyone, including myself, falls into habits that may be bad or detrimental. But it's not always as straightforward as to just drop them. I remember being exposed to fad diets. I forget the names of all of them. But it doesn't matter, what I do remember is how many many people talk about short-term gains only to rubber band back to the median.
It implicitly told me that simply deleting, whether it's carbs or an app, doesn't always solve the problem. Especially when the person may not understand the problem in the first place.
Throughout my 20s, I would get low-grade anxiety. Whenever I'd get an episode, it'd be subtle because I often wouldn't recognize. But my body would. It express itself in eating just a little more at each meal. I would stock up on snacks, and basically self-medicate with stress eating.
No Atkins, or South Beach Diet, or gluten-free change would have addressed that anxiety.
It wasn't until I was 28-29 when I finally did a two-pronged attack. First, a therapist. Talking it out, and doing the hard emotional work. And he would give me the second prong, the tools to recognize when my mental state was changing. To be mindful of the changing context of my environment and myself.
So I bristle at life advice that fits in a tweet. They lack too much awareness of where someone is at in life to be really useful. (I would even dare suggest it can hurt more than help.)
Also, worst is they don't take the time to say it's hard. So hard. Take something fairly straightforward. Like exercise. It should be a no-brainer.
But for someone like me, it meant giving up time from things I love like making art and coding websites. I had to take time to find reasons why I spend time on something that wasn't my life's work. Not to mention, exercise also meant I had to assess my own sense of self-image. I had to confront that my body wasn't where I imagined it would be. That it was weaker than I thought it was. More frail. More brittle.
Rarely is one thing in your life exists solely in isolation with itself. Food is tied to health is tied to activity is tied to schedule is tied to emotions is tied to mental state, etc.
So if there's one thing you do today is stop taking advice that sounds too pithy.